BMW is sleeping behind the wheel

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I’ve always been a big fan of BMW and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving or owning one you know why. Last night I was watching TV and a commercial for the new BMW 3 series coupe came on, since I also had my laptop handy I decided to hop online to see more. I went to Google and searched for “bmw 3 series coupe”.

The official BMW website doesn’t show up until near the bottom of the page. BMW has also chosen not to buy any of the paid ads for this search term. So who is to blame for this? Part of the blame obviously goes to BMW. It’s pretty bad when a company can’t even get their own site to rank for one of their own products. And if they don’t rank they should recognize it and purchase PPC ads.
Google is also partially to blame. It’s in their best interest to serve up the most relevant results for any given search term and this is a clear example of where they’ve failed to do so. When I type in a branded search term I expect to see that brand’s website at the top. There is an obvious flaw in the algorithm when such a prominent brand doesn’t show up first.
All in all, it is BMW’s responsibility to make the buying experience as easy as possible for buyers. This is something that should have never happened in the first place but it has not so they need to fix it. It shouldn’t be hard, I’m sure any seasoned SEO could look at their site and come up with a nice list of recommendations.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is that brands are losing out big time when they don’t rank for their own branded terms. It is costing BMW millions of dollars to run these commercials and they should know that people are going to be searching online for more information. Why wouldn’t they take that small extra step to make sure everything is in place?
On a side note: Why doesn’t BMW have its own social network yet? The brand has a huge community built around it, they should be embracing that to the fullest.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • Tom Kirkham

    It is simply mind-boggling how much of people that are supposedly “Internet savvy” don’t get. Practically everyone at BMW probably Googles everyday, use Blackberrys, ipods, bluetooth, etc. but still doesn’t get the power of publishing on the Internet with little effort. Oh well, I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it… oh wait! it is easy.

  • Mike Rundle

    Guys, scope who’s 4 hits above BMW on that page…. yours truly. I wrote an entry a few years ago that’s been at the top of *many* BMW-related queries since then. Funny stuff.

  • Scrivs

    But my boy Mike Rundle is sitting pretty in the #4 spot!

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Mike – I definitely noticed that, you have some powerful blogs. They better be making you money.

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Jake, search terms like that are used a lot, just ask Mike. Are you saying the only people who use them are the ones that are too poor to afford a BMW?
    I’m pretty sure people of all incomes are still using Google. I would think BMW wants to be findable to all of them.

  • scott

    I think that it might be too soon to expect great natural listings especially when competing with sites that make “speculative” posts about the 3 Series Coupe. By speculative, I’m referring to spy photos, talk of launches, price speculations etc. These sites (mostly blogs) have had time to build up a bunch of incoming links etc, whereas BMW has to stick to official launch dates.

    I’m not saying that their SEO strategies are perfect, but it is something to think about.

    PPC would therefore be the ideal channel.